Thursday 3 January 2019

Book Review - The Burning Maze

Title: The Burning Maze
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Trials of Apollo (Book 3)
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 1 May 2018
ISBN-13: 978-0141363998

I was a god, once. Until I was cast out by my father, Zeus.
Now I'm an awkward mortal teenager called Lester. Bound to a difficult and dangerous demigod called Meg. Thanks a lot, Dad.
My way out? A series of scary and dangerous trials, of course. For my third mission I must:
Journey to the Labyrinth to free an Oracle who only speaks in riddles.
Defeat a vicious and bloodthirsty Roman emperor - the most vicious of three very vicious and bloodthirsty Roman emperors.
Is that all? No, I have to do everything without the help of any of my godly powers. Wonderful. Looks like I'll be needing all the help I can get. From friends new and old ...

My Review
I was actually quite hesitant about reading this book. I absolutely loved the original Percy Jackson series, I really liked the Heroes of Olympus series, but so far I have been rather underwhelmed by the tales of Apollo in his human form of Lester. I realized that my biggest issue was that I really don't like Apollo - and when the book centers on someone you don't like or particularly care for, it makes it harder to read. 
However, I was determined to read this latest installment and hopeful that it would captivate me again.
The book starts of right in the center of the action with Lester, Meg and Grover trying to escape the Maze whilst being chased by strixes - demon birds intent on killing the group. Add in some fire and various other dangers and it looks like our heroes are doomed.
But it gets so much more dangerous and developed. I found it hard to get into at first but I think this was because of my preconceptions about Apollo. 
I read about 80 pages in my first sitting and although I wasn't massively excited, I was intrigued as to what was going to happen next, enough that I picked the book up again the very next day.
To my surprise I actually started to like Apollo a bit more, he's still cocky and arrogant as he's meant to be, but I didn't find it as annoying and he also seemed to have a more human side to him. Maybe the longer he spends time as Lester and less as Apollo, he becomes more humanized. I think it also helped that we got to see more of Meg and the two of them together. I've always liked Grover and his sense of humour actually does make me laugh. 
The story really picked up however when we got Piper involved again. I think she is my favourite character and I was glad to see her involved again. 
The book has a number of villains, all working together and yet still deviously back-stabbing. We have Medea, Caligula and a talking horse. It took me a while to understand who was who and who was working for who, but overall it made for many exciting twists and turns. 
I ended up finishing this in just 2 days. I found myself really starting to get into it and whilst Apollo is still not my favourite character, I did start to like him. The addition of Jason Grace back into the group also helped, and the chemistry between him an Piper was almost radiating off the page.
There is a massive shock moment about 3/4 of the way through the book. I won't give any details at all, but I can't believe Riordan did it! I know fans of the series like me will be massively shocked and heartbroken by the events of the book. But this is what gets you more hooked, you have to keep reading, to see if its true, to see what happens next. 
Still not my favourite series, but I am certainly excited about the next book in the series and I can't wait to get hold of it. This is certainly my favourite book in this series so far.

My Rating